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Housing News The magazine for South Derbyshire Housing Services’ Customers

WINTER

2013

Festive

Competitions

and Quizzes!

Tenants’ Tales

Gardening competition RESULTS

South Derbyshire Changing for the better


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A Letter from the Chairman of Housing Services

Festive Season Opening Times

The Civic Offices will close at 4pm on Tuesday, December 24, 2013, and will re-open at 8.45am on Thursday, January 2, 2014. Customers will be unable to pay their rent in person or over the telephone via Customer Services during this time. You can still pay online at www.south-derbys.gov.uk/our_website/pay_for_it/default.asp or telephone our automated rent line on 01283 595865.

In this issue... 3 A Letter from the Chairman of Housing Services

4-5 Dreamscheme Update

6-7 Forum Update, Tenant Recruitment Drive, ARCH Conference 2013

8 Tenancy Support, Building Homes for the Future

9 Telecare, Talking with Tenants

10-11 FEATURE: Tenants’ Tales

12 Film student gives community project a boost

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Tenant Panels Update

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ARCH CONFERENCE

Gardening Competition – Results

Housing Services recognises the condition of your home is extremely important in keeping you and your family safe and warm, whilst meeting your aspirations and modern standards.

16 Gas Safety in Your Home

17 Keeping Your Home Warm and Well Ventilated

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We are proud to say that every one of our properties currently meets the Decent Homes Standard. Our Housing Service is committed to spending £27 million pounds upto 2017, with £6.5 million already spent in the last 18 months.

Image: ©All rights reserved by Association of Retained Council Housing (ARCH)

Energy-Saving Tips, O’Neill Electrical Giveaway Results

New contracts for delivering external improvements, new kitchens and bathrooms, loft insulation, re-roofing and central heating upgrades have been approved and have either commenced or will start soon. Electrical re-wire and smoke detector replacement programmes have been running since last year.

19 WIN £10: Children’s Colouring Competition

20 WIN £25: Housing News Fact Finder Quiz

TENANT RECRUITMENT

Useful Contacts Customer Services 01283 595795 Citizens’ Advice Bureau 01283 210109 Contents Insurance 01283 595781 Council Tax 01283 595970 Homelessness 01283 595802/4 Housing Options 01283 595778 Housing Benefits 01283 595790 Repairs 01283 595808/9 Right to Buy 01283 595806 Tenant Participation 01283 595788

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Out of hours  emergency line (operated by Careline)

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01283 221225

I will keep you informed of progress in future editions of the Housing News. Councillor John Lemmon Chairman of Housing and Community Services

PLEASE NOTE that if a call-out is made and found not to be an emergency, it may result in the tenant being recharged the costs.

If you have any problems paying your rent please call your Housing Officer on 01283 595795

We are not just stopping at maintaining our existing properties. We are committed to building new Council homes to increase the supply throughout the district. It is hoped that our first planning application will be approved shortly.

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Send Us Your Letters The Publications Panel has decided to allocate space in all editions of the Housing News for tenants’ letters and where appropriate responses from officers, councillors and tenant representatives. If you have any questions or comments on housing matters, please send them to the Tenant Participation Officer, South Derbyshire District Council, Civic Offices, Civic Way, Swadlincote, Derbyshire, DE11 0AH or email tp@south-derbys.gov.uk. Please ensure that questions are brief and no more than 50 words. The Performance and Policy Manager and Publications Panel reserve the right to refuse publication of any letters.

Obtaining alternative versions of this document Tweet with Twitter

@SDDC

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SDDC-Housing-Services

If you would like help in reading this document phone 01283 585788 or email tp@south-derbys.gov.uk. This document can also be viewed on our website www.south-derbys.gov.uk

WINTER 2013 Housing News 3


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Youngsters living across South Derbyshire have yet again been flying the flag for Housing Services after clearing up communal gardens at two supported housing sites.

The Dreamschemers have been out in force to undertake two tidy-up days for our tenants. In August, young people aged between 7 and 15 spent a day gardening at Unity Close, Church Gresley, and also gave up a day of their October half-term to tend to Pear Tree Court, in Etwall. Donning gardening gloves, the group worked with Council staff and community volunteers to tidy up the areas for tenants as part of Housing Services’ Dreamscheme initiative. The Dreamscheme aims to cut down antisocial behaviour, encourage inter-generational working, enable youngsters to learn new skills, and give back to the community. For every hour worked, participants get 1 point. The points are accumulated and used towards a reward trip of their choice. Past trips have been to Alton Towers, Drayton Manor, Tamworth Snowdome, Derby Laser Quest and Swadlincote Odeon. This time, participants were treated to a gokarting session in Lichfield. Thanks go to our sponsor, Buildbase, and to the South Derbyshire Tenants’ and Residents’ Forum, whose members helped to supervise the young people on-site and make refreshments.

4 Housing News WINTER 2013

If your child, grandchild or community group would like to take part in the Dreamscheme, please contact Laurie or Sharon on 01283 595788 or 07891 071980.

“We have a really good bunch of kids who continue to amaze us with their hard work, commitment, resourcefulness and sheer enjoyment of doing things for others.” Tenant Participation Officers Laurie Devitt and Sharon Cole

OUR AUGUST 2013 OPEN SPACE PROJECT... was also a huge success, and saw our volunteers and young people transform extensive communal gardens at Pear Tree Court, in Etwall. Thanks go out to Etwall Tenants Group for donating £300 towards the project, and the Safer South Derbyshire Partnership, for a £500 grant. Thanks are also given to tenant Dylan Jones, of Kudize Media, who gave up his time to film and produce a video of the Dreamscheme. The video will be used in schools and youth groups to recruit more young people to take part in future projects. The Dreamschemers were treated to a well-deserved trip to Alton Towers for their hard work.

Stay tuned to our Facebook page to see the Dreamscheme video. WINTER 2013 Housing News 5


REACHING OUT In a bid to engage with even more South Derbyshire District Council tenants the Housing Services and South Derbyshire Tenants’ and Residents’ Forum teamed up to stage a tenant recruitment drive.

CHAIRPERSON WENDY BRUCE SAID:

“The Forum provides all tenants with a voice. Get involved with us and let us know if you have a problem so that we can try to help. We are aiming to meet as many tenants as possible next year, and are working to provide a number of exciting opportunities for tenants.”

FORUM UPDATE

Since the last Housing News came out to you in May 2013, the South Derbyshire Tenants’ and Residents’ Forum has continued to play an active role in supporting our tenants and assisting the Tenant Participation Officers in delivering community initiatives. Some of the activities include: • Volunteering on the Dreamscheme projects • Providing refreshments and cakes at key events • Supervising a group of young people during a trip to Alton Towers in August 2013 • Judging the 2013 Gardening Competitions and sponsoring a first prize • Helping to run a stall during a tenant recruitment drive at Swadlincote Market • Appealing to businesses and the community to donate goods and sponsor the 2013 Dreamscheme Christmas Hamper Project 6 Housing News WINTER 2013

• Delivering 25 Christmas hampers to our tenants

• Attending Supported Housing Coffee Mornings to assist other tenants • Helping tenants to resolve a variety of issues

Setting up a stall in Swadlincote town centre on a busy market day, officers and Forum members were on hand to chat to shoppers and showcase the many ways Council tenants can get involved with shaping the services the authority provides. Staff from Careline, our 24-hour warden service, were also promoting the benefits of community alarm system Telecare.

Tenant Participation Officer, Laurie Devitt, said: “We had great fun chatting to tenants and raising awareness of the work we do to empower them, and the great opportunities we offer to get involved with us. We also managed to recruit some new members, who we will be talking to in future editions of Housing News.”

Association of Retained Council Housing (ARCH) Annual Tenants’ Conference Members of the South Derbyshire Tenants’ and Residents’ Forum joined more than 100 other tenants from across the country to attend a popular housing conference.

to plan the venue, the programme and speakers. During the event members of the group chaired workshops and registered delegates to ensure that the event ran smoothly.

The annual ARCH Tenants’ Conference was held at Great Yarmouth Town Hall on September 19, 2013. Host authority Great Yarmouth Borough Council welcomed 115 delegates and speakers from 62 ARCH member councils.

The workshops explored what key topical issues are affecting council housing and their impact on tenants, and delegates also had the opportunity to network with tenants from other authorities.

For the seventh year running, the ARCH Tenants’ Group, of which South Derbyshire District Council tenant Dave Bown is a member, organised the conference. They worked with the Chartered Institute of Housing events team and HouseMark

Chairman of the South Derbyshire Tenants’ and Residents’ Forum, Wendy Bruce, said:

“The ARCH Conference allows us to meet tenants from all over the country to pool their knowledge and ideas. It gives tenants a voice to collectively try to change things.”

The Forum meets at Unity Close Community Room, in Church Gresley, every four weeks. Anyone living in South Derbyshire is welcome to attend the meetings. More information is available by telephoning 01283 558216 or emailing sdtrform@hotmail.co.uk. You can also visit the Forum’s new website – www.sdtrforum.com, or telephone Chairperson Wendy Bruce on 01283 760532, or Communications Officer Fred Cox on 01283 819916. Images: © All rights reserved by Association of Retained Council Housing (ARCH)

WINTER 2013 Housing News 7


TELECARE

Tenancy Support Tenants who are struggling to manage their tenancies and finances are being given a helping hand by their landlord.

We now offer Careline Support Co-ordinator (CSC) visits to any elderly or vulnerable resident in the district. This means that any person living in their own home can benefit from a regular home visit from one of our fully trained staff, without moving into supported housing accommodation.

South Derbyshire District Council has employed Tenancy Sustainment Officer Natasha Muldoon to support tenants who may be facing financial difficulty. She offers advice to help them remain in their properties, and to maximise any welfare benefit payments they may be receiving.

To setup the service one of the CSC’s will visit your home to carry out a well-being check where we will assess what your housing related needs are and plan what support you may require in maintaining independence in your own home. This service does not include any personal care, but if this is something you require, the Careline Support Co-ordinator will assist you to contact the relevant agencies to get these support needs met. In addition residents can also be linked up to our 24 hour monitoring centre by purchase or rent of alarm equipment.

Natasha said: “The service offers support in managing money and enhancing budgeting skills, e.g. setting up gas, electric and water accounts, advice on how to look after properties and support in applying for Derbyshire Discretionary Fund and Discretionary Housing Payments.” You can contact Natasha on 01283 595788 or 07813 536800 or by emailing her Natasha.muldoon@south-derbys.gov.uk

THIS IS AN EXCELLENT EXAMPLE OF PARTNERS WORKING CLOSELY TOGETHER TO TURN A BROWNFIELD SITE INTO SOMETHING THAT LOCALS WILL BENEFIT FROM FOR YEARS TO COME.

Councillor John Lemmon

Building Homes for the Future The 11 new 2-bedroom properties in Princess Street, Castle Gresley, which are owned by Burton-based Trent & Dove Housing, have been part funded by the Homes and Communities Agency (HCA) and built by award winning local builders, Goodwin Building Contractors, of Swadlincote. South Derbyshire District Council’s Chairman of Housing and Community Services, Councillor John Lemmon, said: “The building of new affordable housing contributes towards the creation of balanced, sustainable neighbourhoods. It means more people can access a home near family and friends rather than facing the prospect of moving 8 Housing News WINTER 2013

out of the area - and that is something we should all welcome.” Occupying the former site of the Crown Pub and car park, all 11 properties have been built to ensure they are as energy efficient as possible, reducing bills for householders. Off-street parking and designated refuse collection points are also available for each home. Chairman of Trent & Dove Housing John Jackson OBE said: “We are delighted to be working with South Derbyshire District Council to provide thoughtful, affordable housing solutions to help alleviate the nation’s current housing shortage.”

This provides piece of mind that if you became unwell or had a fall our centre would be notified, allowing us to either send a CSC, notify family members or the emergency services. Prices for this service range from £3 per week. The table below shows the frequency of visits we offer to suit people’s individual needs: Level of Service (All levels include our Careline monitoring service) Level 1: Daily visit (following release from hospital) Level 2: 2 visits per week Level 3: 1 visit per week Level 4: 1 visit per fortnight Level 5: 1 visit per month Level 6: 1 visit per quarter Monitoring only – using the Telecare pull cord in an emergency

Basic Weekly Cost £17.00 £9.00 £6.00 £3.00 £2.00 £1.00 £3.00

More information about Telecare is available by contacting Marie Shilton on 01283 228789, emailing marie.shilton@south-derbys.gov.uk or at Careline on 01283 225810.

Talking with Tenants

After meeting with members of the Supported Housing Working Group, Housing Services decided that we needed to find a way to consult more effectively with our supported housing tenants. We also realised that we needed to consult with as many tenants as possible, so organised a series of Community Coffee Mornings in different areas of the district. So far there have been 10 Coffee mornings, with 89 tenants attending. We have received very positive feedback from the tenants who have attended, who completed a short satisfaction questionnaire. We are now using the information collected at these events to review how we can take this area of consultation forward. Updates will be available in future editions of the Housing News, on our website and our Facebook page.

If you have any ideas about how we can involve supported housing tenants we would love to hear from you. Call Laurie or Sharon on 01283 595788 or email tp@south-derbys.gov.uk. WINTER 2013 Housing News 9


Mr Collier with his autobiography Coal Dust to Glitter – Woodville to Westminster

Tenants’ Tales

Bob Collier

The Queen accepting a gift from a craftsman in Tonga, Mr Collier, the Speaker of Tonga

From the dusty coalmines of South Derbyshire to treading the corridors of power at Westminster, it is fair to say that Bob Collier has led a very colourful life. The 71-year-old, who lives in Walton-on-Trent with wife Veronica, has come a long way since his humble beginnings in Belvedere Road, Woodville. The author of several books, including a self-published autobiography, Coal Dust to Glitter – Woodville to Westminster, an exhibited artist and a keen gardener and metal detector, Mr Collier is making the most of his spare time now he is retired. But his life hasn’t always been so easy. “I was diagnosed with a club foot at the age of nine and doctors told my parents: ‘Your son will never be a policeman, in the Army or in the services,’” recalls Mr Collier. “Twenty-odd years later I proved them all wrong.” After missing his 11-plus exam through illness, which prevented him from attending grammar/technical school, the youngster went on to work as a trainee electrician at Granville Colliery when he left secondary school. He admits it wasn’t for him. One day, he decided to take the day off work, travelled to Derby – and signed up for service with the British Army. “I sat and passed the exam to serve with the Household Cavalry but was worried that I wouldn’t pass the medical because of my foot,”

A young Mr Collier with his sister and mother

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Mr Collier recalls. “But, with a sweaty face and sheer determination, I walked the 10 paces required with my foot straight. The officer observing said: ‘You’re flat-footed – but that’s nothing boots won’t sort!’” When he was 18, he began his career with the Life Guards Mr Collier in his military regalia Household Cavalry. On more than one occasion, Mr Collier was one of a select few of top-ranking military officers chosen to ride with the Queen as her bodyguard during hunting. “I used to do investitures and knighthoods at Buckingham Palace, so we would see her often. I was selected by the Colonel to ride with her, and I felt really good about that.” Mr Collier left the Army having achieved the rank of Senior NCO (noncommissioned officer) after 20 years’ service. He then became a policeman with West Sussex Constabulary, before going on to work as a military advisor to the Sultan of Oman. During his three years in post, Mr Collier added speaking Urdu and Arabic to his bow. “I came home to Littlehampton, in Sussex, and thought about what challenge I should do next,” says Mr Collier. “There was a job going in Westminster as an aide to the

Speaker of the day, the Right Honourable Bernard Weatherill MP, and my friend, Major Woodruff, persuaded me to apply.” So Mr Collier sent off his application letter, along with 400 other applicants – and to his surprise, was one of just six shortlisted and invited for interview. Not only that – he was chosen for the role. “I found the thought of it very daunting,” he recalls. “Me – going from a little mining town to walking the corridors of power. You ask yourself: ‘Can I do it?’” And, it transpired, he could. Mr Collier and his family moved to London, taking up residence in a government-owned flat near the Houses of Parliament. “The Speaker was okay in the Chair but outside of it he needed guidance and assurance,” Mr Collier says. “I organised his security outside Westminster, attended all the dinners, liaised with foreign embassadors and the Foreign Office.” Mr Collier, who began his Parliamentary career as an Executive Officer, eventually attained Higher Executive Officer, and was then suitably qualified to lead tours of Westminster and lecture on the Speaker’s role.

Speaker’s wife, Lyn Weatherill, HRH the Queen Mother, Lord Weatherill, and Mr Collier

He did this for schools and universities, as well as more prominent members of society including Royals such as Sarah Ferguson and Princess Michael of Kent, US President Ronald Reagan, James Bond producer Cubby Broccoli, film star Charlton Heston and singer Cliff Richard. “People did seem to come to me because I treated them like normal people,” he said. “After all – they were. I never changed how I acted or spoke.” Betty Boothroyd replaced Bernard Weatherill as Speaker in 1992 and subsequently Mr Collier was offered a ‘golden handshake’ to retire – which he did. Mr and Mrs Collier moved back to Littlehampton, but a year later, longing to get back to his South Derbyshire roots, the couple sold the house and moved to Linton. Mr Collier subsequently moved out to Spain in 2001, a move which unfortunately proved unsuccessful, returning in 2006 with little to show for his life’s efforts.

Former Speaker Lord Weatherill, Bob Collier, incoming Speaker Betty Boothroyd and past Speaker before Lord Weatherill Viscount Toni-Pandy

I am grateful that we have a roof over our heads and we are happy here. No matter what the circumstances, you need to make the best of what you have.”

Coal Dust to Glitter – Woodville to Westminster by Bob Collier is available from Waterstones, in Burton. Alternatively, telephone Mr Collier on 01283 711871, or email him at johncollier120@btinternet.com WINTER 2013 Housing News 11


Supported Housing Working Group In October 2013, 7 members of the group met to discuss an impact report to gauge the success of the Supported Housing Community Coffee Mornings as an alternative consultation method. They decided that, based on the number of tenants we have engaged with so far, that this method of involvement should continue in to 2014. The group will now meet on an ad hoc basis to consult on any Supported Housing issues.

TENANT PANELS UPDATE Film student gives community project a boost Dylan Jones is a man on a mission. The 38-yearold, from Midway, has set his sights on creating South Derbyshire’s first ever community radio station. When you look at his credentials, there’s little doubt that he will achieve just that. The dad-of-one, who is a South Derbyshire District Council tenant, has already set up his own social enterprise firm called Kudize Media, and spends much of his time travelling the East Midlands delivering radio workshops to schools with his portable equipment. Taking experience from his school days spent involved in drama and public speaking, two years spent in a commercial radio station working his way up from a mere assistant to becoming a radio presenter, experience of hospital radio, mobile DJ-ing for 20 years, 17 years as policeman specialising in educational work, to finally running a community radio station that was the first in Wales to launch on DAB, gave him the impetus to launch Kudize.

Following a chance meeting with the Council’s Tenant Participation Officer, Laurie Devitt, Dylan volunteered his skills and experience to film and produce a video diary of the Etwall Dreamscheme project in August 2013. The video will now be used to promote the Dreamscheme in schools, colleges and community youth groups as a useful tool to recruit more volunteers.

“ Being involved in filming the Dreamscheme was great fun, and it was also quite invigorating to see the community getting stuck in and helping.” “Being involved in filming the Dreamscheme was great fun, and it was also quite invigorating to see the community getting stuck in and helping,” recalls Dylan. It is nice to think that a local authority like South Derbyshire District Council gives tenants the opportunity to utilise their skills, and I think more should do it.” “My long-term aim is to set up South Derbyshire’s first community radio station, giving organisations and community groups the chance to market and advertise projects and let others know what’s going on,” he says. More information about Kudize Media is available by telephoning Dylan Jones on 07581 441358, emailing enquires@kudize.co.uk or visiting www.kudize.co.uk.

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Our tenant panels continue to help shape and improve all areas of Housing Services for all tenants across South Derbyshire. If you would like to find out more about getting involved with any of the groups below, please contact Laurie Devitt or Sharon Cole on 01283 595788.

Community Events Group The Community Events Group held their first meeting in October 2013, and has some exciting ideas about how we can boost the delivery of community events next year. Members have so far led on getting items, vouchers and corporate sponsorship for the Dreamscheme Christmas Hamper Project, which took place earlier this month.

Home Standard (Repairs) Panel Members will be attending inspections of the letting of empty properties with the Tenant Participation Officer to see if any recommendations for improvement can be made.

Publications Panel Members have yet again been involved in the successful production of the 2012/13 Housing Services Annual Report and this edition of the Housing News – both of which were designed by a new freelance graphic designer, Tamsyn Port. In 2014, we will be consulting with them and other tenants on how to improve the way we deliver information and key messages to them, including via email, text and social media.

Performance & Scrutiny Panel The Panel has delivered a report to senior Council management containing recommendations after monitoring hard to let homes in the district. They will be working on more projects in 2014 to improve Housing Services. The Panel also continues to be the designated body for complaints should tenants feel their issues have not been resolved via the Councils corporate complaints procedure. WINTER 2013 Housing News 13


Overall

Best Garden Feature Winner Mr Bates

Winner Mr Meadows, Netherseal Runner Up Mr & Mrs Hutson, Melbourne

Best Front Garden

Winner Miss Hardy, Netherseal Runner Up Mr Hall, Church Gresley

Best Rear Garden

Winner Mrs Orme, Swadlincote Runner Up Mr Ceiley, Weston on Trent

Best Small Garden

Winners Mr & Mrs Fairbrother, Church Gresley Runner Up Mr & Mrs Clough, Melbourne

Most Improved

Winner Mr England, Ticknall

Best Garden Feature Winner Mr Bates, Newhall Runner Up Mr Riley, Weston on Trent

Best Tubs, Pots and Baskets

Winner Mr Wain, Church Gresley Runner Up Mr & Mrs Poole, Hartshorne

Best Vegetable Garden

Winner Mr Meadows, Netherseal Runner Up Mrs Stayte, Shardlow

Can You Dig It?

Best Community Garden

Winner Mrs Saunders, Melbourne Runner Up Mr Hudson, Hartshorne

Children’s Category Winner Lilly Hollis, Newhall

RESULTS

This year’s gardening competition has seen the most entries we have ever received. The standard of all the entries this year, and how hard our tenants work to keep their gardens in great condition, has really wowed us all.

Children’s Category Winner Lilly Hollis

The hard work of Mr Meadows, of Netherseal, paid off when he was awarded Overall Winner. The judges were particularly impressed with the assorted flowerbeds at the front of his home and a beautifully crafted maze being the main attraction at the back. Other features included an assortment of vegetables, a water feature and a selection of well-maintained borders.

Can You Dig It? 2014

Most Improved Garden Winner Mr England

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Many thanks are given out to our sponsors Universal Contracting, South Derbyshire Tenants’ and Residents’ Forum and Dave Bown Building Surveyors, and our judges, Wendy Bruce and Derek Rogers, who are members of the Forum. Thank you also to all the tenants who entered – you really do make Can You Dig It the success it is.

Following the success of this year’s competition we are now planning for 2014 and hope we will receive even more entries.

Mr Meadows said “I have entered the competition a few times and have won best vegetable garden before. It means an awful lot and I pulled out all the stops this year.”

No matter how big or small your garden is we are encouraging you to enter as we need more tenants to participate in this event. We would also like to encourage more children to enter the competition. Your garden does not have to be spectacular, but just show that you maintain and spend time tending your garden. Perhaps your garden was dull and lifeless when you moved in, but you have transformed it.

Prizes were presented at an awards ceremony attended by Cllr Ann Hood the Chairman of the Council, and her consort.

If you wish to enter next year’s gardening competition please contact Sharon Cole or Laurie Devitt on 01283 595788 or email tp@south-derbys.gov.uk

Overall Winner Mr Meadows

14 Housing News WINTER 2013

WINTER 2013 Housing News 15


Gas safety in your home The Council, as your landlord, is required by the Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998 to check the safety of the gas installation within your home on an annual basis. These checks ensure the safety of you, your family and neighbours. The Council employs Renuvo Ltd to undertake annual gas safety checks, services and repairs. If you think you have a gas escape, please phone the National Gas Emergency Call Centre (operated by NATIONAL GRID) on 0800 111 999 after you have: • Turned off all appliances and the gas supply at the emergency control tap by the meter. • Opened doors and windows to ventilate all rooms. Ensure that anyone present: • Does not enter a basement or confined space. • Does not turn any electrical appliances on or off, including light switches. • Does not smoke, use naked flames, mobile phones, or any other source of ignition.

After NATIONAL GRID have visited, it may be necessary to contact us to arrange a repair.

• It is vital that all gas installations and appliances are checked every year to prevent potential injury or damage. • When the inspection is due, Renuvo will write to you to arrange an appointment that suits both parties. • If Renuvo do not receive a response within 7 days, they will send a reminder letter to you. • Renuvo will inform the Council if they do not receive a response to the reminder within a further 7 days. • The Council will then use our ‘no-access’ procedures to contact you to arrange an appointment. • If you do not respond to our letters, calls or visits, we will consider taking legal action to arrange access. • Failure to provide reasonable access is a breach of tenancy conditions and can put your home at risk. If you have made an appointment for your annual safety check and the engineer does not turn up at the agreed time, please do not hesitate to contact us. We would rather know on the day or next day, rather than when we send you a reminder. Please complete and return any feedback surveys from Renuvo after your boilers and gas fires have been serviced. It is important we hear your views so we can improve services.

If you have any queries relating to the work undertaken to your gas appliances, please:

If you have an emergency out of our office hours, please contact CareLine on 01283 221225

• Call our Repairs Line on: 01283 595808 or 01283 595809

DO NOT allow anyone who is not Gas Safe registered to work on your gas appliance.

• Text us on: 07816 969 580 • E-mail us on: improvements@south-derbys.gov.uk 16 Housing News WINTER 2013

The winter months are here bringing cold weather conditions. The threat of mould and condensation within our homes remains a constant problem but can be exaggerated during these cold conditions. Condensation occurs when warm air hits a cold surface, this is known as the dew point. If this is not dealt with correctly, mould or black spot can occur, and this can cause issues within your home that may lead to health problems. Here are 10 handy tips on how to keep your home warm and well ventilated during the winter months. 1. Try not to dry washing on radiators or within rooms of your home. 2. If using a tumble dryer keep it adequately vented and empty condense trays regularly.

• Does not use a door entry system. • Does not use any appliances until you have been told it is safe to do so by a Gas-Safe registered engineer.

keeping your home warm and well ventilated

3. Try to not use portable Calor Gas heaters, these give off excessive moisture. 4. During cooking ensure saucepan lids are on, the extractor fan is used and kitchen doors remain closed. 5. Open windows in a morning (just slightly will do) to ensure a through draught to help dry out overnight condensation. 6. Keep doors shut when showering or bathing, this helps minimise the spread of moisture between rooms. 7. Have your heating system set at a low ambient temperature to ensure the house is kept warm, rather than letting it come on and go off (this could also be cheaper). 8. Do not turn off extractor fans; these are removing excess moisture from your home. 9. Wipe down walls and glazing if moisture is evident. 10.Ensure air can flow freely around your home. These tips will help you manage moisture levels within your home and will help prevent mould developing.

If you do have concerns over mould or condensation within your home then please don’t hesitate to get in touch with the Repairs Team on 595763. WINTER 2013 Housing News 17


Children’s Christmas Competition All our young tenants aged between 2 and 12 can get creative and decorate this festive scene to be in with a chance of winning a £10 voucher. Use glitter, stickers, glue and felt pens and any other craft items you can to create a colourful and vibrant picture. The best picture will be selected by an independent judge.

8 STEPS

Win £10!

TO SAVING MONEY ON YOUR ENERGY BILLS

1. 2.

3. 4.

Do not waste hot water and don’t leave taps running unnecessarily. Your hot water cylinder should be factory insulated (usually green) or be fitted with a well fitted tank jacket (usually red). Either could save you at least £45 a year over a bare copper cylinder. If yours is not insulated, please call our Repairs Line on 01283 595808 and we will supply you with a free jacket. Heating your hot water with the boiler rather than the immersion will save you money. Keeping your heating on low for longer is more efficient that keep turning it on and off, as it heats up the walls.

5. 6. 7. 8.

Turning down your room thermostat by one degree could save around £65 and 260kg carbon dioxide a year. Keep your radiators clear. For example, do not put a large sofa in front of the radiator as it will absorb a lot of the heat. Use thermal or heavy curtains during the winter and close them at dusk. This will help stop heat escaping through the windows. Take care not to drape curtains over radiators as this will funnel heat straight out of the windows and do not allow them to cover your radiator valves at any time.

Winners of As part of the Electrical Repairs and Maintenance Contract with £150 Argos South Derbyshire District Council, O’Neill Electrics Limited are contracted to undertake Electrical Condition Inspections of our vouchers properties on a five to ten year cycle. These inspections are important to ensure that the wiring installations remain in good condition. The test results are also used to prioritise future rewiring programmes. O’Neill’s sent out letters to 400 properties in October, and to encourage tenants to make appointments, said anyone that replied and made an appointment within 7 days would be entered into a draw for £150 of Argos vouchers. The lucky winners drawn from those that replied were Derek Elliott and Shirley Braithwaite of Church Street, Church Gresley, seen here receiving their voucher sponsored by O’Neill Electrics. 18 Housing News WINTER 2013

Name and age: Address:

Telephone:

Send your entry to (postage is free): Tenant Participation Officer, South Derbyshire District Council Housing Services, FREEPOST, MID21072, Swadlincote, Derbyshire, DE11 7BR by 5pm on Wednesday, January 8, 2014, or bring your entry in to our offices. The judge’s decision is final.

WINTER 2013 Housing News 19


Fact Finder Quiz Read your Housing News from cover to cover to find all the answers to the questions below to be in with a chance of winning £25 of vouchers. 1. What is the name of the firm who sponsored the October 2013 Etwall Dreamscheme Tidy-Up?

Win £25 of vouchers

2. When does the Civic Offices re-open after the Christmas period?

3. Where did Dylan Jones launch his first community radio station?

4. How often does the South Derbyshire Tenants’ and Residents’ Forum meet?

5. Who won the Best Garden Feature in this year’s gardening competition?

6. What is the name of the Council’s new Tenancy Sustainment Officer?

7. How many levels of service are offered by Careline?

8. Which two Parliamentary Speakers did Bob Collier work as aide to before his retirement?

9. Turning down your heating thermostat by 1 degree could save you how much money per year?

10. Which award winning builder built the new properties on Princess Street in Castle Gresley?

Name:

Address:

Telephone:

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Send your entries to: Tenant Participation, South Derbyshire District Council Housing Services, FREEPOST, MID21072, Swadlincote, Derbyshire, DE11 7BR by 5pm on Wednesday, January 8, 2014. Entries with the most correct answers will be placed in a hat and the lucky winner chosen at random and contacted. The Judge’s decision is final.

What do you think of your new-look Housing News? Is there anything we could improve on for future editions? Let us know by telephoning 01283 595788.

SDDC Housing News winter 2013  

The regular newsletter of the South Derbyshire District Council tenants' service. With news and updates on events, projects and initiatives...

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